Mark Says Football Federation Forced Foreign Adviser On Keshi
SENATE PRESIDENT DAVID MARK
… As Senate Pass Vote Of Confidence On Cup Winning Coach
ABUJA, February 12, (THEWILL) – Senate President David Mark Tuesday threw more light on the friction between Super Eagles Coach, Stephen Keshi and the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) that forced the cup-winning coach to tender an initial resignation letter, which he later withdrew.
Mark told senators at Tuesday’s plenary that the crux of the matter was the pressures mounted on Keshi to accept the services a foreign technical adviser during the just concluded Cup of Nations in South Africa.
The Senate President said he put a call through to Keshi on Tuesday morning when the report of his resignation broke.
"I spoke to Stephen Keshi this morning (Tuesday) and he confirmed to me that he actually said he has resigned. He said the reason is because there is too much interference. Before the final match on Sunday there was a lot of pressure on him that he must accept foreign technical advisers and he said he is opposed to it because he has got all that he needs in this country.
"That there are Nigerians who can work with him and he doesn't see the gain in bringing foreigners.
"I think once we allow him (Keshi) and give him the team to manage, we should give him the free hand to manage the team. Whatever way he goes to get the result that should not be our problem. Once we give him the task we should give him a free hand to accomplish the task and bring the result,” Mark said, adding, “The Sports Ministry or the administrators must give him a free hand to bring us the result that we want.”
Keshi had earlier complained bitterly that the NFF had failed to pay his wages alongside bonuses for team players. He also expressed disappointment at the federation over its lack of faith in the ability of the team to excel at the tournament.
The Super Eagles returned to Abuja on Tuesday afternoon onboard an Arik Air plane.
Meanwhile, in wide-ranging contributions on a motion "Nigeria's Glorious Outing at the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2013" sponsored by the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu and 107 Senators, the Senate passed an overwhelming vote of confidence on Keshi.
Senators also called on President Goodluck Jonathan to confer befitting National Honours Awards on the victorious team as well as reward them materially.
Also, the lawmakers called on managers of sports in the country to sit up and return to the grassroots to source and develop Nigeria's abundant sports talents to sustain what they described as a "new dawn in the nation's football and sports in general."
The cup-winning team had six home based professionals -- Goal keeper Chigozie Agbim, strikers Ejike Uzoenyi and Sunday Mba, who scored the lone goal that won the cup for the Super Eagles. All three players are of the Enugu Rangers Football Club, Enugu.
The other three local players are Azubuike Egwueke (Warri Wolves), Godfrey Oboabona (Sunshine Stars) and Gabriel Reuben (Kano Pillars).
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